Antagonists, you either love them or you don’t. They act as the opposite to the main character, cause destruction, and just make it so easy for us to hate them. Yet, as much as they can annoy an audience, there’s no doubt that these bad guys are what make a story complete. Here’s a list of ten fictional villains who basically are the definition of evil, making them an icon we love to hate.
President Snow from The Hunger Games trilogy
From the moment he was introduced to his final moments in District 13, President Snow was an actual piece of work. He had this snobby attitude, became insanely cruel whenever things didn’t go his way, and did we mention that he found entertainment in kids killing each other? Katniss had a 3-book feud with him, ending with his death at the hands of angry citizens. Then, his prequel story came in the form of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and readers hated him even more. White roses will never be the same.
Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones
Both in the television and book series, Cersei is the main villain for characters in the Games of Thrones world. Some fans might argue that she only does certain things for means of survival, but let’s be serious. Cersei is pretty cold-blooded and kills almost anything that gets in her way. When she murders her foes in King’s Landing, as well as innocent people nearby, she does so with a smirk and a bloody red wine.
The Joker from the DC Universe
He is a villain that everyone knows. From comics to film or television portrayals, how could anyone forget about this crazy killer who just does the absolute most when trying to bring down Batman? Everyone hates him for the disruption he causes in Gotham City and, of course, for how shitty of a boyfriend he is to Harley Quinn. Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Joker in The Dark Knight, however, is one we’ll always remember.
Yzma from The Emperor’s New Groove
Who could forget this iconic eyelash batting villainess? After getting fired by protagonist Kuzco, Yzma’s motive is to kill him and take the role as Emperor for the Peruvians. While she doesn’t exactly succeed, her goofy failures are what make her such an underrated icon. She’s always scheming with potions, disguising herself in extravagant costumes, and Eartha Kitt being her voice actor is just chef’s kiss.
Theo Faber from The Silent Patient
He was right there, in our faces! Psychotherapist Theo disguises himself as a good guy to readers, but then it’s revealed that he is the real murderer. He drove Alicia to kill, making him a creepy and malicious figure in the novel who terrorizes the couple. He stalks her home, daydreams about killing her husband, and even goes on living with his spouse, Kathy, without telling her of his crime.
Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty
On another note, there’s the well-known Maleficent who has gotten her own standalone films in recent years. With her mesmerizing staff and an evil laugh to go along with it, the antagonist for Sleeping Beauty is clearly good at being bad. She searches for Princess Aurora for YEARS and when she does find her, she puts her straight to sleep with the prick of a finger. Maleficent wants the throne and if it means turning herself into a massive dragon, then she’ll do it.
Michael Myers from Halloween
The mask should be scary enough. He stalks late at night, looking through windows and making his victims feel like they’re imaging things. Myers has made himself an icon for horror films, especially with his years-long feud with Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. He just goes around killing for no reason, with his mechanic jumpsuit and heavy breathing. His suspense music is also a villainous anthem.
Ursula from The Little Mermaid
Aside from singing one of Disney’s greatest villain numbers, Ursula is probably the first spooky character that millennials came across in the 90s. She just has a certain energy, plus her evil eels who follow her command aren’t any less scary. From convincing the naive Ariel to sign away her life to transforming herself into Vanessa and persuading Prince Eric to marry her, Ursula is a villain who takes control of any situation.
Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars saga
The list of reasons why I hate Palpatine is way too long. He manipulated Anakin, executed Order 66, destroyed planets, and targeted future generations of Skywalkers just because he wanted more power. And right when you think he’s dead at the end of Return of the Jedi, the Sith lord somehow makes it onto the sequels. He’s the definition of a villain you absolutely hate for doing their job. At the same time, without him, we wouldn’t have any Darth Vader or Kylo Ren. So thanks, Palpatine.
Freddy Kreuger from Nightmare on Elm Street
The concept for Freddy Kreuger is what makes him so unforgettable. He is essentially the embodiment of people’s nightmares. He takes all your fears and throws them right at you when you’re in a vulnerable slumber. His scarred face and sharp claws is another thing that might spook someone, too. But really, what other villain is targeting their victims in their dreams?
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